Is It Real, or Is It…

Once upon a time, a photo was incontrovertible evidence that something happened. Now, through the magic of Photoshop, anyone can create a picture out of thin air to support whatever story they happen to have running at the moment. So, with all of this manipulation going on, just exactly what are we supposed to believe? It used to be that if you had a photo, it was hard proof. Now, it isn’t. You can manipulate any photo to make it show anything you want. Frightening.

Some photoshopped photos are obvious, even artsy:

Some are pretty cool:

Some are just plain funny:

But then we have ones like these:








The first three categories are fun, compelling, even disgusting in some cases, but this last category is messing with history.

Think about it… when we were young and learning how to research things, it was always advisable to have a picture accompany your research. Photos convey a sense of reality, they ground the story – as fantastic as it might seem – with hard evidence that yes, not only did this event take place, someone was there to witness and photograph it.

Or were they?

There has been an outcry, but not a big one. Or it’s big, and it’s just not reported because some of those guilty of the photoshopping are the same ones who are in charge of the reporting. There’s a conspiracy for you, that I’m not going to get into right now.

We’ll keep the discussion here: how are we, as regular people who have a bazillion things to do each day, supposed to look at the cover of a newspaper or a magazine, and trust that what we see is real? When is it ok to “airbrush” and when is it not ok? Currently, there is a controversy in the fashion/glamour magazine world, because companies like Ralph Lauren are photoshopping their models to inhumanely thin proportions (yes, these two ladies are the same person!):

This happened to Faith Hill, too. I think she even grew an arm…

It used to be that if you had it in a photo, it was undeniable proof – either of guilt or innocence. Now? Anything is possible. And that’s a frightening concept.

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13 Responses to Is It Real, or Is It…

  1. Maxim says:

    That fox one is pretty messed up. hahaha

  2. SKL says:

    I just don’t believe much of anything I find in the media any more. Well, at least not until it gets past my BS filter.

    But I’m a cynical old lady. How do I teach my kids how to sniff out BS when there are all these realistic but fake images all around? I guess I’ll have to figure that out along the way.

  3. The Ralph Lauren photo is wretched! I don’t know too many woman who would ever wish themselves that skinny. It does not look healthy or natural! I believe that feeling your best and healthy is much more important than the number that shows up on the scale. It truly is amazing what can be accomplished through photoshop tho, and definitely raises some hard questions. Great post!

  4. Definitely frightening. I haven’t seen the Hillary photo – that’s disturbing, too. The fashion world is disgusting in what they do to their models in real life, and then they photoshop them to make them even smaller…. Simply despicable.

    I think that photos are just becoming another thing we need to question in everyday life :/.

  5. Jenny says:

    I hate seeing tv commercials or ads for makeup when the person’s skin is so flawless. There is no one in the world who has flawless skin! Teenage girls are looking at these ads and saying I wish I could look like that. Or be that skinny. When the actual person in the ad isn’t! Its airbrushed! I wish they would just leave everything alone and show their true beauty, not re-touched.

  6. mssc54 says:

    I have become somewhat of a pesimistic guy.

  7. Joy says:

    I’m a very optimistic person and I used to believe almost everything I saw. What I mean by that is if I saw a picture of someone in a magazine, I just assumed it was really them and that’s what they look like. But lately, I’m becoming a lot more “I wonder if this is real” person and I don’t like it. Remember when a “a picture’s worth 1000 words” was true?

    I know a lot of these men and women sue over some of this airbrushing. They don’t like it either. I’ll bet Faith Hill was mad that they did this to her. I know when her youngest daughter got gum stuck in her (Faith’s) hair years ago some magazine cover didn’t like her short haircut and they added hair and I believe she sued them. She’s a “this is life” person.

    That Lauren photo looks like she’s an alien. Does anyone think that looks good? Really? It might look better if her head was smaller too but really, that looks ridiculous.

    You know what? I never knew until right this minute that the “Hilary” photo was fake! Another bubble burst.

  8. Nikki says:

    You can’t believe anything anymore and it’s sad. Photoshop has taken over. I don’t see anything wrong with maybe a pimple or dark circles being touched up for a cover. But taking off that much weight, doesn’t portray the person as they really are at all!

    And taking Clinton out of that picture is messing with History and that should be one thing that should never ever be messed with!

    • Joy says:

      I think they changed the photo on the left and added the people on the right and claimed it was taken while Bin Laden was being captured.

      Is that right??? Now I’m confused. What was the occasion of the one on the left??

      • Nikki says:

        I wanted to be sure so I copy and pasted this article.

        A Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper removed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and another woman from the now-iconic photo of the Obama national security team watching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden from the White House Situation Room.

        The original photo, taken as the raid was occurring, famously shows Clinton in the center of the room, with her hand over her mouth. But the newspaper Der Tzitung, described by the Jewish Week as “ultra-Orthodox,” has a policy of never printing photos of women in its pages because it thinks they could be sexually suggestive. Thus, Clinton and counterterrorism director Audrey Tomason, who was seen standing at the back of the room, were removed from the picture.

      • Joy says:

        OMG!!!!!! I didn’t know that. I thought the one on the left was from World War 2!!!!!! That’s terrible.

  9. Nikki says:

    The original photo actually has Obama in it also. The ones used here, have been cropped.

  10. Sue says:

    I think it’s ridiculous and sad. Airbrushing the skin for the cover of a magazine is one thing, but to completely redo their body parts?! That’s too much. I can’t believe they did that to Faith! She looked just fine before!!!

    I couldn’t believe that newspaper did that to Hilary Clinton and the other woman. How dumb! It would be nice to see people portrayed in print the way they really are-and that goes for men too!

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